But the mere absence of red flags doesn’t really say anything good about a person, does it? “I went on a date with the most wonderful guy! I don’t think he’ll emotionally or physically abuse me! What a catch!”
So let’s talk about green flags. (Um. White flags? …Cyan flags?) Signs that someone is mature enough for a relationship, that they have a healthy attitude toward relationships, and that they have the potential to be a caring and responsible partner. This isn’t about compatibility—maybe they’re a lovely person but you like Kirk and they like Picard—but signs that they’ll be a good partner to someone.
Here are a few. I bet there’ll be better ones in the comments.
- They communicate, early and often, about what they’re thinking and feeling, and they give you chances to do the same.
- They introduce you to their friends and want to meet your friends.
- They have a rich life outside of you. It can be many different things—job, hobby, friends, family—but they have something that makes them engaged and energized and has nothing to do with you.
- They’re excited by the things that make you different, not just the things that make you conventionally attractive.
- They ask you for your opinion and advice as often as they offer theirs.
- They’re willing to do un-fun, un-sexy stuff with you; when you need someone to hold your hand in the ER or take you to the airport at rush hour, they’re there for you.
- When talking about previous relationships that didn’t work out, they admit fault and regret.
- They always ask you before making a decision that affects you, whether it’s trivial like “where to sit in the theater” or major like “whether to have sex tonight.”
- They respect your decisions and emotions even when you can’t “logically” explain them.
- You feel safe disagreeing with them, calling them out when they screw up, or telling them you don’t want to do something with them.
- They set boundaries with you sometimes, and they do it in a matter-of-fact, respectful way.
Your mileage may vary, some bad people will have a few green flags, some good people will be missing a few, all opinions given areonly opinions, et cetera. But when you’re considering making a new person a major part of your life, I think it’s important to think not just about “are there no bad signs?” but about “are there any good signs?”
Super important topic, and one I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I love seeing a short list all neatly laid out like this.
this is really good! and helpful!